Upscale Lima district criticized for restricting Pokemon Go

By September 13, 2016

Authorities in a quiet, upscale district of Lima, Peru have enacted restrictions against the popular mobile video game, Pokemon Go.

The La Punta district in Callao this month enacted an ordinance which regulates the playing of the video game on the streets, sidewalks and rocky beaches of the small, touristic area immediately south of the Port of Callao.

The ordinance restricts Pokemon Go playing to the hours between 6 a.m. and midnight and confines play to six public parks and boardwalks. Violators of the ordinance will be fined $116, and municipal authorities will confiscate their phones until the fine is paid. In the case of minors, a parent must pay the fine to recover the phone.

“We are not banning anything. We are just regulating the use of Pokemon Go,” La Punta district mayor Jose Risi told El Comercio. “We’re doing this for the people, because they can’t be hearing guys playing at all hours in the night, waking people up. This creates discomfort in the population. It is also to protect people who play, whose often are looking at their phones and may suffer an accident on the road or in the sea.”

A statement from the district said the ordinance looked to combat increased vandalism, fighting and property damage along the La Punta seafront.

The ordinance has been widely criticized as unconstitutional. Lawyer Erick Iriate says the law restricts the right to free movement as well as empowers law-enforcement authorities to conduct illegal search and seizure and review people’ phone communications.

“How will the authorities know what I’m doing with my device? What will they check? Are they going to alert telecommunications companies when someone uses Pokemon Go in La Punta?” Iriate told reporters.

The initiative is the first attempt by authorities in Peru to restrict the use of mobile phones in public spaces.

“There are things a person cannot and should not do in public, but using an app is a grey area that has not been regulated. How much can you regulate the use of public space?” Phillip Chu, editor of technologies news outlet TEC, told El Comercio.

Pokemon Go arrived in Peru on Aug. 3.


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La Punta y la inconstitucionalidad de la norma sobre Pokemon Go (El Comercio)

Pokemon Go en La Punta: multas son para rebeldes, dice alcalde (El Comercio)